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Make Money Online

One question that I get asked often is “how do I make money with my blog?”.  This page will cover a few options that are available, and how to go about implementing them.

Ad Networks

Ad networks, like Adsense, allow bloggers and website owners to display text and image ads on their sites to make money on a pay-per-click basis. When you reach a payout threshold (Adsense is $100), you get your payment.

Advertising networks can be a great source of website income for some, but not all. Before you get started with any ad network, you need to be sure that you have the traffic to justify it. If you’re creating a brand new blog and think that placing Adsense ads all over the place is going to generate you any sort of income, I’m sad to say that just won’t happen.

To have any ad network benefit you, you must have a decent amount of recurring traffic. That is how your income is generated — through impressions (how many views your posts get per day) and clicks (users clicking on your ads). It is not simply generated just by copying and pasting an ad code onto your website and waiting for the money to roll in. To make any sort of decent money from a pay-per-click ad network, it takes time, a lot of great content, and thousands of impressions per day.  That’s not to discourage you, but to get you really thinking about building your content and readership.

So if you are interested in teaming up with some ad networks, first be sure that they will benefit you. Otherwise, you might make five cents a month and wonder if you’ve done something wrong.

If you have grown your blog and you do have the daily traffic, Adsense can be a great tool for you. If you’re a Blogger user, you can access Adsense right through your dashboard to start setting up ads, or if you are a WordPress user you can sign up at google.com/adsense. If you use the free (non-self hosted) version of WordPress, you cannot use Adsense.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are another way to make some money online. They are similar to services like Adsense in terms of adding a banner or link to your site, however they are structured completely differently. One of the more popular affiliate networks is CJ, or Commission Junction. With a program like this, you are paid whenever a user clicks on a banner or link and purchases something from their website. The percentage of the sale that you will obtain varies per program, and often times there is a payout threshold and waiting period to allow for store returns, order cancellations, etc.  Once again, you will need the constant traffic to see any type of income.

Affiliate programs can work wonders for niche websites or blogs that have a great influence on their readers. I definitely recommend only advertising products or services that you would use or have used personally to keep the level of trust with your readers. Affiliate programs tend rely on you to influence a purchase. For example, if you are writing about a cool new kitchen utensil you just purchased, why not throw in an affiliate link for the same product so others can enjoy it too — and you can make a few bucks for referring the sale!

Depending on the sales you refer, affiliate income may not always be steady income, but generally pays higher than pay-per-click ads.

Some affiliate networks worth checking out:

Sell Advertising

Many blogs now a days are leaning more towards selling their own ad slots to “sponsors” which has proven to be a great way to make a little extra income. If you have the readership, and want to start offering paid advertising on your site, this option may appeal to you… although I do recommend you have that constant flow of decent traffic before jumping into this.

When you sell ad spots, you need to think about how much you will charge, what features/benefits your advertisers can enjoy (if any), length of ad run, sizes of ads offered, and how you will display the ads. You also need to remember that you must benefit your advertisers in some way. The only reason somebody purchases an ad on your website is so that they can get traffic in return, which is why I think it’s important to have traffic stats to back you up! If an advertiser sees little or no return on their investment, they won’t be back for another month of advertising.

So, how much should you charge for your ads?  Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey has a formula in which he states: “X dollars per month, per ad, with X being equal to your daily visitors count divided by ten”.  I agree with this formula and think it’s a great starting point, where “daily visitors” means unique visits… not pageviews. So, if you have 400 unique visitors per day, you could start at a $40 valuation per ad and increase the amount as your traffic grows.  This can of course change depending on ad size and placement and what your ad spot offers.  If it’s placed lower down on the page, charge less. If you are offering multiple spots with the same features, charge less as it’s no longer a unique spot.  If it includes additional features or highlight posts, charge more. You can also offer discounts for advertisers willing to pay for a few months up front.

Tools to help you:

  • Passionfruit Ads – An monthly paid service that makes it super easy to set up and sell your own advertising

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